Easy2 Technologies - Installing a Tongue & Groove Floor Product Demo

Installing a Tongue & Groove Floor Instructions

  • Intro

    There are fewer things finer in a home than a hardwood floor. For the do-it-yourselfer, however, it can be a daunting yet rewarding task. However, you must be detailed as well, because even small mistakes will show. There are many types of hardwood flooring, but this tutorial will only cover solid tongue and groove flooring that is either pre-finished or finished in place. Other types of wood flooring that are glued or clipped in place or made from different layers of wood require different kinds of installation procedures and will not be covered here.

  • Overview

    The basic steps to completing your flooring project are to first, decide the direction you want your flooring to run. Secondly, you will prepare to install your flooring. Then, lay your first course. And finish off by installing the detailed finishes.

  • Decide on Floor Direction

    Before you start you need to decide what direction the flooring will run. Typically, you want the flooring to run the length of the room for aesthetic reasons. However, keep in mind that running the flooring perpendicular to floor joists is better for structural reasons, since the floor will be stiffer and less prone to joints separating. Install a vapor barrier on top of the sub floor which will help control moisture and sound between the sub floor and the finish floor. Resin paper, foam backing, and 15 or 30 lb roofing felt will work. Whatever you use, roll it over the floor completely and secure it with staples so it will not shift around.

  • Establish a Baseline

    Next, establish a baseline parallel to the direction you are going to lay the floor. Find the center between the two walls at each end of the room and snap a chalk line between the two points. This is your baseline. You do not have to start laying the floor from the baseline, but wherever you do start, you must be parallel to the baseline. Use a scrap piece of flooring as a guide the cut off the jamb and trim with a handsaw. To hide the gap, the baseboard can either be removed and reinstalled or have a kicker installed after the flooring is in to hide the gap.

  • Start in the Center

    For large rooms it is a good idea to install the first boards in the center of the room, placing the first 2 courses groove to groove with a piece of molding taking the place of the tongue. In this way the floor expands and contracts from the center out instead of from one side of the room to the other, allowing for less movement on edge pieces. For smaller rooms less than 12 inches across this step is usually unnecessary.

  • Set the First Course

    To start, choose some long straight lengths of flooring and nail them down parallel to the baseline. To keep the first course from moving as you nail it down, try temporarily screwing down some lengths of 1x lumber. Use a flooring nailer to nail just above the tongue of each board every 10 to 12 inches. Continue nailing down the flooring towards the wall, leaving a 1/2 inch gap around the perimeter. When flooring gets too close to the wall for the floor nailer, nail directly through the top with finish nails and countersink them. If you are using pre-finished flooring repair these holes with matching wood filler and a drop of urethane finish.

  • Fit Courses Together

    For flooring that does not fit well try knocking it into place with a scrap piece of flooring. Do not try to hammer on the flooring directly as you might damage the edge. For warped pieces of flooring try building a wedge to force them into position. Nail one part of the wedge into position and hammer the other wedge sideways to force the flooring into position. Cut around corners or irregular shapes by scribing with a square or compass. To cut the flooring, use a jigsaw or coping saw as these work well to create detailed cuts.

  • Finish the Floor

    Finally, when putting the last pieces along a wall, use a pry bar against the wall to ensure a snug fit. You do not need to worry about damaging the edge, as these are the final pieces and will be partially covered with baseboards. If you installed an unfinished floor, you will need to rent a floor sander and sand all the board surfaces flush with one another. Then you can finish the floor with stain and a few coats of urethane finish. If you removed the baseboards, you should reinstall them after all the flooring is laid down. Finally, you can install shoe molding or quarter round to cover any gaps between the new floor and baseboards.


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